The winter weather has been pretty full on in Leavenworth recently. It’s been cold, snowy, rainy, icy, cloudy, and wet, but the rivers are flowing great. In fact, we’ve had so much precipitation in the last week that we’ve seen boosts in water levels of over 4000 cfs. The paddling has been awesome! Tumwater Canyon has been pumping some big water class IV-V, Icicle Creek has filled in enough to make the lower section a mile of jet-fighter class IV creeking, and we’ve even had some of our park and play spots on the Wenatchee River come in. With all this water, and temperatures over 30 degrees, I’ve been spending a ton of time on the rivers this week. Especially after the cold streak we had last week. I got out one day when the temps were just over 20 degrees. Even though the sun was out, those conditions were barely tolerable. I am just stoked to be paddling almost every day in January, in the mountains of Washington.

For me, winter paddling takes a lot of effort to get excited for. It is the least enticing activity I have ever participated in. Getting dressed, loading boats, getting down to the river, and getting your frozen skirt on is all a real pain in the ass. But once you peel out of that launch eddy, all is good again. In fact, aside from the snow on the banks and the icicles forming on my helmet, the paddling this month has been as good if not better than it was in the fall. It just takes a lot of motivation to get out of the warm house and slide into the barely above freezing river. I just keep telling myself, that before I know it, Spring will be upon us, and the days of man boating will be back. But for now, hot coffee, pogies, drysuits, and fast laps will be the recipe for success. Beats sitting on the couch…